Rock Star CD

Yesterday I got the CD Rock Star: A Night At The Mayan Theatre, which contains performances from all 15 of the Rock Star: INXS contestants. (I had trouble finding it in music stores for the first few days, so I ordered it from Amazon). It is not a best-of compilation from the show; it merely contains the 15 performances (in their full length) from the premiere episode that aired in early July. According to the liner notes, it was recorded on May 18th, a month and a half before it aired. The contestants lived in the mansion all that time?

Fortunately, the CD contains two "bonus tracks", namely Jordis' stunning performance of "The Man Who Sold The World" and Mig's standout piano-based rendition of "Baby, I Love Your Way". You won't find "Pretty Vegas" or "Trees" here. If this CD sells well, Burnett/Epic Records intends to release another CD, which would hopefully contain a broader selection of songs from the show's run.

As long as you know what you're getting, the CD is enjoyable enough. When the premiere episode aired, all 15 singers were strangers; now we know them better as performers. When I listen to J.D. Fortune's rendition of "American Woman" (based more on Lenny Kravitz than the Guess Who), I am reminded of what a long shot it seemed that he would be the winner. Also, when I hear Deanna Johnston sing "Piece Of My Heart", I am reminded of why she made the strongest first impression on me.

I also enjoyed listening to the songs from early eliminatees. Wil Seabrook's performance of Bowie's "Heroes" isn't half-bad; I at least like it better than the Wallflowers' version. But he definitely wasn't INXS material. Dana Robbins' strange rendition (as opposed to Jordis') of Bob Dylan's "Knockin' On Heaven's Door" sounds a bit less bizarre when you can't see her, but it's still easy to see why she was the first one to be eliminated. Neal Carlson's performance of the Stones' "Brown Sugar" is faithful to the song's essence, but something about that guy just puts me off, even when you can't see him trying to look like Jagger. Hearing Daphna Dove sing Blondie's "One Way Or Another" reminds me of how promising she seemed before she bombed in the third week. And hearing Tara Slone sing the Pretenders' "Middle Of The Road" reminded me of why I hated to see her go so soon.

All in all, Rock Star: A Night at the Mayan Theatre is not a bad souvenir to remember the show by. If a second CD is forthcoming, let's hope it's more comprehensive.